Eastern Fwy truck driver appeals sentence

·2-min read

A truck driver who killed four police officers in a crash on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway says his 22-year prison sentence is too long.

Mohinder Singh, 49, was short on sleep and high on drugs when he veered into a service lane and crashed a 19-tonne semi-trailer into the Victoria Police officers, who had pulled over Porsche driver Richard Pusey for speeding.

Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King, and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney were killed in the April 2020 crash.

Singh was last year jailed for 22 years after pleading guilty to four counts of culpable driving causing death and drug trafficking charges.

He must serve 18-and-a-half years before he is eligible for parole.

Singh appeared in Victoria's Court of Appeal by videolink from prison on Monday, with his barrister Peter Morrissey arguing the length of sentence was "manifestly excessive" and the non-parole period too long.

Families of the four deceased police officers attended the hearing.

Mr Morrissey said Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan's sentence did not give enough weight to Singh's guilty plea nor his remorse, psychological disorders and rehabilitation prospects.

"In this case there were very powerful mitigating factors," he told the court.

"The original sentences were too big."

Singh's decision to drive the truck came while he was in a "remarkably fragile state" of drug-induced psychosis, he said.

"He was beset with the idea that he was supernaturally haunted by witches," Mr Morrissey said.

However, Justice Terry Forrest said the crash was not caused because he saw a witch, but because he fell asleep and could not control the truck due to his drug-taking.

Mr Morrissey agreed but said Singh's mental illness and drug issues mitigated his moral culpability.

Prosecutors rejected the appeal's grounds, arguing the sentence and non-parole period were within the range open to Justice Coghlan for such serious offending.

Crown barrister Brendan Kissane said the judge gave Mr Singh's guilty plea sufficient weight and found no connection between his mental capacity and the offending.

"His Honour, doing the best he could, has imposed this sentence and this court should not interfere with it," he said.

Court of Appeal President Karin Emerton and Justices Forrest and Emilios Kyrou reserved their decision on the appeal.

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